single womanBeyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” is one of those hits that just never grow old. At a time when other tunes would have receded into the deeper recesses of our minds, “All the Single Ladies” gets revitalized.

Here are some of my favorite things about three different versions of “All the Single Ladies”: the original, from Beyonce; a recent magazine article by the same name; and my own take on “all the single ladies” in the big picture of our lives.

Best Things about Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”:

  1. The irresistible, can’t help dancing to it, music
  2. Even better – all the babies who couldn’t resist (and I’m not even a sucker for cute baby videos)

Not a favorite thing about Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”: The lyrics. “Put a ring on it” is so not Single at Heart.

Best Things about Kate Bolick’s “All the Single Ladies”:

Set to engaging prose rather than catchy lyrics, Kate Bolick’s story in the Altantic magazine was published less than two weeks ago, and already more than 22,000 people have recommended it on Facebook. I mentioned it here briefly the day it came out.


I loved Kate Bolick’s personal story, especially the evolution of her thinking about single life over the course of the article and beyond. For example:

  • The story opens with the tale of Kate’s past breakup with a long-term boyfriend, a period during which she “barely ate for sobbing all the time.” It ends with a paean to a “place where single women can live and thrive as themselves.”
  • On the cover, Kate looks none too happy. Inside the magazine, though, she is holding a glass of champagne.
  • Throughout much of the article, she refers to single people as “alone.” After the story is published and she is interviewed on the Today show, she has this to say when asked about being alone: “I don’t see myself any more alone than someone who is married. I have strong friend networks, strong family networks that will continue to strengthen through time.”


One of my favorite historical factoids: In 1940s Russia, “penalties were brandished for anyone who perpetuated the stigma against conceiving out of wedlock.”


I appreciated the counter-perspective Bolick offered to the overplayed story about how African-American women marry at such low rates: In 1950, she notes, the percentage of women who married was about the same for blacks as for whites.


One of the most important points: In some ways, single people are even more connected to other people than married people are. Sometimes “a married couple becomes too consumed with its own tiny nation of two to pay much heed to anyone else.”


The name of this blog, “single at heart,” appears in the story!

Not a favorite thing about Kate Bolick’s “All the Single Ladies”: the parenthetical remark describing the children of single parents as tending to “struggle” as they grow up “amidst the disorder that is common to single-parent homes.”

 Best Thing about “All the Single Ladies” in Real Life:


More and more of them are living their single lives fully, joyfully, and without apology, and they are doing so without donning Beyonce-dancer high heels and butt-cheeky leotards.

Not a favorite thing about single women (and men) in real life: They are still targets of stereotyping and discrimination. But we’re working on that singlism.

Photo by informatique, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.